Coming off of last year’s breakout season the Nashville Predators went into the 2015-16 with their roster largely intact. With much of the lineup from last year intact, and free agents Cody Hodgson and defenseman Barret Jackman added in the offseason, there were few opportunities for rookies to crack the Predators lineup.
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The Nashville Predators have not been as dominant this season as they were to start the 2014-15 season — due in part to injury — but the team is once again in the thick of what is a very competitive Central Division race.
One encouraging sign is the success of the club’s two minor league affiliates. Both the AHL‘s Milwaukee Admirals and the Cincinnati Cyclones in the ECHL have had to shuffle their lineups at times but no matter who is in the lineup those players seem to be contributing.
The 2014-15 season saw a shift in focus in the Predators’ organization from the Smashville philosophy of the early years to a more wide open skating style. Partly due to necessity, Nashville featured bigger, hard-hitting players playing tight defense and making things difficult on opposition players during its early years. That changed this season as new coach Peter Laviolette emphasized a north-south skating game that fit the talents of scorers like rookie Filip Forsberg and veteran Mike Ribeiro, who had a resurgence in his first year with the Predators.